Veronica Mars

Veronica Mars

  • Veronica Mars is good escapist entertainment, even if it is imperfect.
  • Chief amongst its flaws is an opaque mystery. The clues Veronica (Kristen Bell) uses to exonerate Logan (Jason Dohring) are not sufficient for the viewer to solve the crime along with her, especially because they center on a nine-year-old event that is not shown to us. We can be entertained by Veronica’s efforts, but we are not simultaneous sleuths.
  • Something that distances us from the film.
  • As does writer/director Rob Thomas and co-writer Diane Ruggiero’s decision to bypass potentially emotional scenes. When Veronica should worry about her father, for instance, the filmmakers do not immerse in her experience. Instead, they cut to she and Logan driving home. And then rapidly return to her investigation.
  • In many ways, then, Veronica Mars’ characters are secondary to its plot.
  • Which, given Veronica’s complexity, is lamentable. Were the filmmakers willing to explore her emotions, she could be a vibrant, mulit-faceted character.
  • Logan, Keith (Enrico Colantoni) and Stosh Piznarski (Chris Lowell), while not three-dimensional, are sufficiently complex, as well.
  • The rest of the secondary characters, however, blend together (at least for viewers unfamiliar with the television show). Here the other characters are traitless plot devices, not compelling people.
  • Even so, Veronica Mars mostly survives poor development of Wallace (Percy Daggs III), Mac (Tina Majorino), Gia (Krysten Ritter), Cobb (Martin Starr) and the rest, courtesy of its witty protagonist. She makes the film fun (and funny).
  • In no small part because of Kristen Bell’s performance. Her Veronica is sexy, intelligent, sarcastic and incredibly funny. It’s easy to understand how this character launched her career.
  • The other performers are strong, too, especially Enrico Colantoni, whom I wish had additional screen time. He’s very good as Veronica’s simultaneous supporter and challenger.
  • Veronica Mars is not going to win any awards. And many viewers will forget what happens in it, but courtesy of strong performances and a funny screenplay, it remains entertaining.
  • Final Grade: C+

19 thoughts on “Veronica Mars

  1. Im familiar with the characters and just felt like I was watching a long episode of the show which is good and bad. The bad being the fact that this movie is not on TV.

    Nicely done Josh

    • I totally agree that this feels a lot like a television procedural, but that doesn’t bother me, really. I don’t think this film aims to be anything more than that, and I’m willing to judge it on its own terms, rather than on what I think theatrical movies should be/do.

  2. That is a great point. The father incident was handled terribly. Same with the break-up! I was actually really disappointed with her lack of sensitivity. Despite my score being a tad better (3.5), I agree with the majority of your points!

    • Thanks. I didn’t even mention her break up with Pizz, but you’re right. That’s another place they skipped emotion in favor of plot. Which is too bad – that could have been a vibrant scene, too. I wish they had focused more on the characters.

      Though I will say my C+ and your 3.5 probably aren’t that dissimilar. C+ is the lowest grade I will give a movie I still recommend.

      • Oh yeah, I pulled the break-up out of my head haha. Yeah, they dropped the ball with that one. Made her look like an ass….

        Fair enough, but even with 2.5, I do not totally dismiss it. At 3.5, I still really liked the film. Anything under 2.5….stay the hell away haha. I guess that is the same with your D!

      • More or less. 2.5 might be my D+. 2 is probably my D-. My D is between the two, I think.

        Oh. And I still quite enjoy a C+ movie. I think they stumble in places, but on balance I like them. On a one to one, my C+ is probably your 3. But I’m really just saying our scores aren’t that different. 🙂

  3. I’ve understood that you have to see the show to get the inside jokes etc. I’m not sure I’ll see it exactly for this reason — I don’t have time or energy to watch the TV show now, but if I will, one of these days, I think the film will be more enjoyable. Nice review, though 😉

    • I think there could be some truth to that (though I can’t be certain since I haven’t seen the show). I will say I think the film mostly works as a stand alone product. Were there some jokes I didn’t understand? Probably. But there were enough that that are funny, that I don’t think it a problem. (I do think development of secondary characters a problem for folks who haven’t seen the show, though.)

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